I found it quite odd a little over a month ago when Variety touted the lighting of its sign atop on a Wilshire Blvd. building in Los Angeles. At a time when rumors inside the leading Hollywood trade paper indicated that it was on shaky ground, the move seemed quite excessive.
Today’s news that Variety is cutting two of its strongest links to the indie, specialty and festival world — Anne Thompson and Mike Jones — was a total shocker. That it happened on a day when some 70,000 American lost jobs (according to CNN) is stunning. Mike is one of my closest friends (and an important figure here at indieWIRE over the years), while Anne has been a longtime time supporter and friend who I read religiously. Variety is the bible of the business, so the decision to cut out the heart of their own online film group is a big blow.
I corresponded with both MIke and Anne today, so I won’t criticize their former bosses any further other than to say that as a loyal Variety reader, today’s move — on the heels of the departure of Variety marketing guru Madelyn Hammond — is a major disappointment. Cheers Mike and Anne for your hard work at Variety! Your absence will be felt.